Archive for July, 2009


Something New, Something Old (plus shopping!)

July 31, 2009

Dear Caitlin,

I woke up early this morning to get in a short run. After getting back and showering off, I decided to sit out on our front porch with a cup of tea and my book, and I watched as what would become the day-long rain began. I was glad I got out when I did!

Unfortunately, I still had to face the rain, as I had several errands and shopping planned for today. My errands were mundane (post office, bank, supermarket), but my shopping was very successful. First, check out these great clothes I got from the Gap!


Best thing of all: they were all on sale! With my extra birthday coupon discount, this came to $50 altogether. What a steal!

I also stopped by your old stomping ground, Target. I was looking for some little things I wanted to get for Toronto; one that I’m especially excited about are these little containers for my desk stuff and my medicine cabinet. Here they are open:

Containers, Open

And here they are closed:

Containers, Closed

So convenient! And space-saving! I am very excited, as I’m sure you can tell.

But anyway, on to food matters. I didn’t eat anything until I came back from all this shopping, so when I got home I decided to treat myself to one of the new goodies I picked up at the supermarket on the way back:


Yep, I finally got around to trying Oikos yogurt. I know you’ve tried this before and I forget what you thought of it; I decided to go for the vanilla flavor, since I can barely stomach regular plain yogurt, much less plain Greek yogurt. But I liked this Oikos! I did decide to throw in some add-ins just for fun, however, though I don’t think it really needed them:

Oikos with Add-Ins

That’s wheat germ, flax seed meal, and granola in there! I’m not sure if I’ll buy more at this point, as I only picked up this one pack along with a few O’Soy packs that I’ll go through first. But we’ll see…

Dinner tonight—at least my part of it—was something old, VeganDad’s excellent Malaysian Sweet & Sour Tofu. The sauce came out really well tonight I thought, but I totally screwed up the tofu. I don’t know if I didn’t heat the oil high enough (I didn’t have a candy thermometer or anything) or if I was using the wrong sort of pot or what, but the batter did not stay on the tofu at all this time! Hrumph. Still delicious, though, and I think my family liked it, too.

Malaysian Sweet & Sour Tofu

My mom contributed what I’m calling a Japanese Eggplant Stew: a mix of eggplant, mushrooms, and green beans in a shiitake dashi. Very interesting taste, especially with the dashi; I liked it!

Japanese Eggplant Stew

And that was today! Right now, I’m trying to decide whether the list of things I would do for a Klondike bar includes walking to the kitchen and opening the freezer. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Until we eat again,



Salad Days!

July 31, 2009

Darling Willie,

Earlier this week, I went to the amazing WF in West Orange to stock up on salad goodies. It has been so long since I had a good salad, on account of the moving and all, so I was very excited! After seeing Gena’s recipe for Creamy Avocado Cumin Dressing, I was really anxious to try it out on my salads. Unfortunately, the avos I bought weren’t ripe enough for me to make the dressing for the first salad. As you know, I much prefer to make my own dressings for salad for a multitude of reasons so I was pretty bummed that I would have to go sans-dressing or use one of the bottles my mother had in the refridgemonster. I know. Scary thought.

Although, when I saw this on the door:


I was pretty excited to try this dressing. Since I had tried and LOVED Brianna’s Rich Poppy Seed Dressing, I had pretty high hopes for this bottle of Blush Wine Vinagrette. I prepared my salad as usual (with everything except maybe the kitchen sink):


(chard with leftover lentils, clover sprouts, raw corn, jicama, dried cranberries, blueberries and cashews) I was pretty stoked all around, that is, until my first dip into the dressing. It was not very good at all. It was a little too oily and salty for me and it didn’t help that I think I had some sort of allergic reaction to it afterward. Maybe it would work better as a marinade? The salad itself was great though!

Today, the avos were finally ripe and I was able to try out the Gena’s dressing:


Sorry the picture isn’t great… I think maybe I was just so anxious to eat it, I didn’t have much time for photographs! This dressing was fantastic! Although, if you were planning on making it, you might want to cut the amount of lime juice down. I know how you feel about citrus! I used the dressing to top the following:


jicama wrapped cucumber (also inspired by Gena’s post) and:


All around, very very satisfying! The jicama rolls were great! Though getting that jicama thin enough to use as a wrap was no small feat!

In other exciting news: I won my first blog giveaway ever! Care to Eat had TWO loaves of Dave’s Killer Bread to giveaway! I chose the Sprouted Wheat and the Spelt. I have been dying to try this bread since it started making its way around the blogosphere! I even considered seeing if Patrick’s fam would send me some… Anyway, I’m incredibly grateful to get to try this bread! Bonus: I might even get the package while you are visiting! Then you will get to try some too!

Well, I should be off to bed… G’night!

Until We Eat Again,



After the Flood…

July 31, 2009

Dear Caitlin,

So my hometown suffered through the effects of massive flooding following yesterday’s torrential downpours, I stayed inside, slept in, and did some simple cooking. I started the day off with a late breakfast; I was really in a cereal mood for some reason so I whipped up this tasty of goodness:

Tasty Cereal

It’s Kashi Go Lean! Crunch (Honey Almond & Flax) with raisins, wheat germ, and bananas on top, finished off with some 365 Brand soy milk I bought in Pittsburgh before I left (Side note: I feel like I have such low standards for soy milk; I am perfectly happy with the cheapest box stores have to offer. I wonder why that is…). This was a perfect way to start the day! Yum yum yum. I’m starting to crave another bowl now…

This held me over until evening, since we were had an early dinner tonight, which I was half in charge of. Mostly, I took care of the potatoes, using your lovely rosemary roasted potatoes recipe. Here’s how they looked in the end:

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

These came out great! They were good good good and my whole family liked them—I think my dad is even going to take them with him to work tomorrow!

The main course was a simple red lentil recipe my mom suggested from the back of the Goya package. We basically followed the recipe as it was there (just the lentils with some spices, garlic, ginger, and onion), but I decided to put that panch phoran mix in there instead of the suggested cumin. We served this with white rice; I used my rice as a border between my lentils and potatoes:

Dinner Plate

So all in all a satisfying day of food! I’m hoping to get to the grocery store tomorrow, and I hope to have many more exciting food adventures to post soon!

Until we eat again,



Rainy Day Lunch

July 29, 2009

Dear Caitlin,

I don’t know what the weather is like Jersey, but here in Valatie it has been raining and pouring like nobody’s business. I tried to take a picture to show you all the craziness, but I don’t think any photo could really capture the shear amount of water falling from the sky.

Rainy Valatie

Anyway, after a busy morning of running, unpacking, re-organizing, and errands, I finally got around to eating lunch (or breakfast, if by breakfast you just mean the first meal of the day) at 2:00. I kept it simple: a salad from the available greens in my fridge and some leftover curry my mom made. It all came out pretty good! Here’s the salad:

Wednesday Afternoon Salad

Actually, after I took this photo, my mom cut up some Pink Lady apple slices to put over it and I sprinkled some flax meal to finish it off. The rest of the salad was just a few leaves of lettuce, a handful of baby spinach, and grated carrots, with toasted nuts (pine nuts, walnuts, and sunflower seeds) on top. For the dressing, I used some of the salad dressing of mystery in the fridge:

Salad Dressing of Mystery

Really, it was just a simple vinaigrette, I think with some mustard in there.

The curry was simple—tofu, tomatoes, broccoli, and chickpeas in a subtly flavored sauce, but it was good, especially over the leftover quinoa and rice.

Leftover Curry over Quinoa & Rice

I also tried some of the Buffalo flavor FSTG chips. They exceeded my expectations (which we just that they’d be slightly better tasting Doritos) but didn’t blow me up (except with their spiciness—there’s a lot of cayenne pepper in these babies!). However, I thought it was really nice to have a spicy chip that didn’t get salt or fake cheese all over your fingers—everything in these chips stayed on the chips, as it should be.

It looks like I will be whipping up some shiitake dashi with soba noodles for dinner tonight, so I probably won’t take any photos of that, since you’ve seen it so many times before. I’m looking forward to seeing what food adventures I can get myself into over the next few days, though! There’s a big bag of potatoes sitting in our fridge that I have to figure out something to do with…

Until we eat again,



Road Trip Report Card

July 29, 2009

Dear Caitlin,

What a long day! We started packing up the two cars and the U-Haul at 7:30 this morning and didn’t get back in New York and all unloaded until 9:00 at night! Thankfully, the drive was uneventful and smooth the whole way, it was just very long. I’m pretty exhausted now, but I wanted to give you a quick run-down of the car ride goodies I bought, in the order I ate them:

  1. Chocolove Dark Chocolate Bar: Due to poor planning on my part, the only thing I had to eat in my car for the first leg of the ride was my dark chocolate bar. Not really the ideal breakfast, but delicious.
  2. Banana: Okay, I know, a banana doesn’t seem like something to write up. But I did want to mention it because I tried buying the Whole Foods Whole Trade bananas this time. Whole Trade products are ones that Whole Foods claims are fair trade and beneficial to the farmers and the environment yada yada yada. Anyway, this was a good banana.
  3. Cherry Pomegranate Naked Juice: I picked this up at the Sheetz we stopped at, and I really liked this flavor! (Side note: Why is Sheetz spelled with a “z”? Since the preceding [t] is a voiceless consonant, the plural phoneme /s/ is pronounced with a correspondingly  voiceless [s], not a voiced [z].) (Update: As I suspected before I wrote this side note, a quick bit of Wiki-researching reveals that Sheetz is eponymously named after its founder, Bob Sheetz. Probably a Slav.)
  4. FSTG Sweet Potato Chips: Good, but not my favorite. I thought they needed more sweet potato flavor, which was more of a subtle aftertaste if anything with these chips.
  5. Sweet Mama Half & Half Lemonade Tea: Another drink I picked up at the Sheetz. I decided to forego my traditional Snapple for something I’d never seen before, knowing that I really enjoy Nantucket Nectars’ Half & Half drink. However, Sweet Mama just didn’t cut it for me. Too much sugary sweetness, as I should’ve expected, and avoided.
  6. Odwalla Superfood Bar: Not bad, not great. It has a unique taste, but not so unique that I want to go out of my way to eat it again.
  7. Cricket Cola (enhanced with Green Tea): Not pleasant; I couldn’t even finish half of it. Granted, I did open it late into the trip and it wasn’t really cold anymore, but it just wasn’t good cola, and the green tea did not make up for that.

And that was everything I ate on the car ride. After we arrived home and unpacked the cars, I had some leftovers for dinner from last night at Spice Island. My mom, on my recommendation, got the Fresh Bean Sprouts and Basil (one of my all-time faves on their menu) yesterday, and I finished it off tonight. I also had a Pink Lady apple and some of my dad’s bread. It was all very satisfying; it feels so good having some real food in my tummy.

And that’s all for tonight! I should head to bed soon and get some much needed rest.

Until we eat again,



I ate a lot of chocolate today.

July 28, 2009

Dearest Willie,

As you may already know, I had a rather early morning today, so this post may be a bit shorter than I originally intended. I apologize in advance if I still haven’t quite figured out how to properly resize the photos!

After an incredibly lackluster brunch at LouCa’s in Edison, I was really hoping for something more exciting and interesting for dinner and I got it! I ordered some food from Goody’s (they don’t have their own website unfortunately). Just in case I haven’t told you about this restaurant before, but it is pretty interesting… They specialize in Cuban/Chinese food!

I ordered the bean curd and broccoli with garlic sauce and white rice:

bean curd broccoli

bean curd broccoli

I also got some exciting and delicious sides! The first was steamed Yuca with Onions:

Steamed Yuca

Steamed Yuca

This was super delicious! Yuca or Cassava root is kind of like potato but with a sweeter flavor and the onions complimented it very nicely. It also has a good amount of fiber and protein!

My second side was fried plantains:



These were understandably a little greasy, but really good. I ordered them crispy without the sweet sauce and I definitely think that was a good option. The sauce would have definitely made them more desserty than what I was looking for. Though Goody’s doesn’t have very many vegetarian/vegan options, the ones they do have are really tasty and interesting. Their meat options are pretty greasy and salty, so it was a pretty nice surprise that the non-meat options were so much better.

Okay, so I think maybe I should head to bed about now, especially since tomorrow there is a twin peaks season 1 marathon on one of the strange channels my parents now get with FIOS… I hope your move tomorrow is not too stressful and that your drive is pleasant and it isn’t too hot outside andyoursnacksaredeliciousandyougethomesafe! Remember: do not open your exciting new cola until you are fully stopped. Thank you.

I miss you! 🙂

Until we eat again,


p.s. I haven’t listened to this yet but I have downloaded  it and am very intrigued. I thought you might be too!


Last (Homemade) Supper in Pittsburgh

July 26, 2009

Dear Caitlin,

After you left this afternoon, I needed something to keep my mind off your absence, so I did what anyone in my situation would do: clean. First I swept the floors, and then I moved all the stuff in my room out to the main area. Now it sort of looks like it did earlier today, before you moved all your stuff out:

Willie's Things

Remember earlier today? That was a good time…

Anyway, after moving all of your stuff and doing all this cleaning and rearranging (and, as a result, showering), I had worked up a mighty appetite and needed some nourishment. But before I hopped in the kitchen, I thought it would be a good idea to get my final food shopping done tonight, since there were a few things I wanted to pick up for the car ride home on Tuesday, and since I was really in the mood for a quirky juice.

So I wrote up a quick list and headed over to Whole Foods. Side note: It’s a really weird feeling when paper isn’t readily available in your apartment. I spent a minute trying to find something I could write on so I wouldn’t have to go rifling through boxes just for a piece of scrap paper. I ended up using half a sheet from the PUR printout. Here’s what it looked like:

Grocery List

As the list suggests, I had some fun adventures in Whole Foods. I found several exciting new things that I’m eager to try. Before I get to my dinner, here are some of the things I got for the car ride home:


Bars of all kinds! You know how much I love munchin’ on bars on a drive, and I think these will give me plenty of good, healthy (and much needed) energy.

FSTG Chips

So you’ve really gotten me hooked on these chips. Whole Foods had a sale so I couldn’t really pass up on these. I’m very excited about the Sweet Potato; the Buffalo, though very tempting, are actually a substitute for the Multigrain, which they were all out of (grumble grumble…).

Cricket Cola

Last but not least, some cola for the drive—Cricket Cola! If you can’t read the label, it’s “enhanced with green tea,” which to me sounds like one of those things that’ll be either totally awesome or completely horrid. We’ll see! (Just so you’re not worried, I think I’ll take my first sip when I’m not driving, to avoid any nausea-induced swerving.)

Anyway, on to dinner! Even before I went to Whole Foods, I already had my basic dinner plan set: whip up the remaining foodstuffs into something delicious. In other words, I would be eating some combination of veggie burgers, orzo, and frozen peas. After some internet snooping, I happened upon a simple orzo recipe that I could modify to suit my scanty pantry, so dinner was a go, and here’s what I ended up with:

Double-Decker Burger

First, the burger. It ended up being a double-decker because I had two patties and only one bun. Still not sure if this was a good idea. As you know, these patties weren’t the most delicious (or recent) and having two of them stacked on top of each other didn’t really make them any better. Thankfully, this wasn’t all I made…

Spicy Basil Orzo

Here’s my orzo concoction! It’s just orzo, peas, and then a smattering of spices: lots of basil, a generous sprinkling of paprika, pepper, and salt, and a dash of cayenne pepper. Not incredible, but very edible. Actually, my little box of orzo made much more food than I expected or needed. I can’t believe I ate the whole thing…

After these two hearty courses, I had no room left for the extra-special, quirky juice I bought! So I decided to save it for later and went off to do the dishes, and then I started writing this blog post. And right about when I realized that the apartment internet was gone, I suddenly had a refreshed appetite for my juice, which it easily quenched. Here was what I picked up:

Bossa Nova Juice

I had never seen this juice before, although I am no purveyor of juices. Apparently the company bills themselves as a “superfruit” juice maker, using only the best fruits for their drinks. The flavor I picked out was, as you can see, acai with mango, because I’ve been wanting to try some more acai, and also because I don’t feel guilty indulging in mango-y things when you’re not around. Anyway, this juice was de-li-cious! But it was also tiny, and $2.49, so I can’t really say if it was worth it. But I did love the taste, and I would love to taste some other flavors sometime. Perhaps the next time I’m feeling indulgent…

Talking about indulgence, I also picked up an extra-special dessert for me tonight, which I still have no appetite for. But I’m really looking forward to it when my appetite returns, because this looks like some delicious chocolate:

Berkshire Bark

If you can’t read it, the flavor is “pretzelogical,” which leads me to believe that there are pretzels and Vulcan magic mixed into this chocolate bar. Can’t wait! I will tell you how it goes later.

And that’s all for tonight! I don’t think I will be making any more homemade meals beyond cereal until I get back home, but after that I will be in full blogging mode! And I will be sure to write another post when I get back to tell you how all my car ride goodies were!

Until we eat again,


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